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On Pens & Sketchbooks

March 4th, 2013 by


I don’t know about you, but I like to have a dedicated Sketchbook Pen when messing around in my smaller, everyday sketchbooks. Long ago, there was a Uniball pen that made some really great doodles.

Now, I’ve been terrible at filling sketchbooks. On the right you can see Mitch’s Sushi, my current Moleskine. Yes, I named it. I show it there as it’s maybe three-fifths of the way full. It wasn’t until I came across Gary Panter’s drawing tips that I finally started carrying it with me everywhere. That article is probably 50% of how I got into a better sketchbook habit.

Before reading that, I had wanted to have a full sketchbook. After reading, I realized that naming a sketchbook can be pretty powerful. Would you rather look through a sketchbook, or browse the mysteries of Mitch’s Sushi? Eh? Afterwards, I wanted to fill Mitch’s Sushi with all kinds of stuff. Combine that with Just Fuckin’ Draw and there’s a real nice recipe for doodling, experiments and sketching your way to filling more than one sketchbook a year. A year is a good plan because if you fill it early, you can start a second. I tried filling a book a month once and it ended about 8 pages in.


Back to pens. After the most recent fave bit the dust, I headed to possibly the worst Office Max around because I knew they’d have some sort of demo station there. What I didn’t know was that it would take me over 30 minutes to figure out where the pens were. The demo station was along one wall, while the pen I really liked was not labeled, nor even in a 20-foot radius near the demo station as I later found out.


I walked back & forth so many times there’s probably a rut in the carpet due to my searching. It didn’t help that the pen had no words on it either, other than TUL on it.

I wouldn’t have spent so much time on this if it weren’t so important to a fun drawing experience. Using a pen that doesn’t work properly every time or skips in the middle of a line is frustrating. The demo pen I found was  fantastic. When I finally found the package I noticed the had some felt-tipped style pens, very similar to the Sharpie Pen. Those are super great, but the barrel is too skinny and leaves me hand cramping after using it for a long period of time. The TUL version of the Sharpie Pen has a thicker barrel and rubber grippy parts and makes for much more comfy doodle time.


The packaging is super nice in that no knife is required to open it. It was secured with just pressure.

The only thing I don’t enjoy about them is that none of the pens with black ink are water resistant. The blue felt-tip pen is, but the black one isn’t. Interesting.

I’m pretty happy with these silly pens and I’ve done most of my sketchbooking with them since they were obtained. 90% of the drawings in Mitch’s Sushi have been done with them, so maybe that can help you if you’re struggling. Find a favorite pen. Buy a few of ’em in case you lose or break some. Then get to doodling.



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